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Hard Times in Paradise

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
An account of one family's life in a redwood forest describes how the Colfax's lived without electricity, running water, or a phone, and how they educated their sons, three of whom were accepted to Harvard on full scholarships.
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published July 17th 1992 by Grand Central Publishing
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 17, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
The Colfax's story is one of perseverance. It is well worth the read. I found this book to be both encouraging and Inspiring.
Oct 24, 2016 NoBeatenPath rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, 2011
Two topics that are really interesting me at the moment (and do most of the time) are home education and homesteading. So when I found out about Hard Times in Paradise, which is a memoir about both, I knew I should read it. The authors, David and Micki Colfax, are famous for raising and home educating their four sons on a hard-scrabble goat farm, with those sons all going on to successful careers, including in some cases studies at Harvard. However, this is not a ‘how-to’ about homesteading or h ...more
Jan 01, 2011 Pumpkinbear rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschool-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2011 Brittany rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the Colfax's first book and had equal expectations for this tome, but was disappointed. This book covered their homesteading years extensively, but didn't really offer any additional insight as to educational philosophy or methodology - probably because they don't have one. Something didn't quite jive with their account of being fired and suing for tenure, but that was just my gut instinct. I was also more than a little bothered by the attitude the parents held that they were 'too good ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Donna rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It's about a family of six (four boys, two adopted, two bio) who decided to literally live off the land. The parents gave up their job, bought some land, and carved out a life for themselves by building their own home (which took many years) and adding livestock and gardens to support themselves. They had no electricity and no running water for years! The most fascinating part for me was that they homeschooled in a very, very non-traditional way and three of the four bo ...more
Apr 20, 2016 polly rated it really liked it
I just love the way the Colfax family learned together!! I liked the book so much that I forced my husband to read it, too--and that's unusual. The cooperative family unit is what stands out about this book--the idea that the family is not comprised of parental authority figures who are dispensing all their wisdom and knowledge to children, but that the group of individuals together works to create a life, and everyone has input on what that looks like. A great model for family life...even if yo ...more
May 31, 2012 Valerie rated it really liked it
Wonderful book that tells such a fascinating true story of a family in northern California that checks out of academia after much pain and blacklisting due to political activism both on campus and off. They bought raw acreage and carved out a homestead, raised their bio and adopted kids, and inadvertently became homeschoolers back when it was unheard of. Loved their writing style, their passion for social justice, and the life they chose in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Feb 19, 2016 Lori rated it it was amazing
I thought this story was amazing- how they lived, survived and tenaciously worked so hard to get what they wanted is very inspirationing! I love how they encouraged and supported their children in what they were passionate about.

This story is more about their lives homesteading than about homeschooling.
Sep 04, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it
This is the true story of a family that left academia and began a homestead in northern California, with a pit-stop in Africa. They build their own home, raise livestock, and start a guest house. It's a really intriguing tale of life in the 1970s and 80s, the philosophy behind homesteading and homeschooling, and it's just plain interesting to read.
Polly Jirkovsky
A memoir of living on the land in the 1970s and homeschooling, really unschooling, four kids. The descriptions of the Colfax's life on the land were brutal, it's amazing they managed as long as they did in a half-finished house with no electricity. No wonder the kids couldn't wait to go to college.
Jul 10, 2008 Katheryn rated it it was amazing
I read Hard Times in Paradise years ago at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and just fell in love with the Colfax's story. Made me think more than once about moving to a remote area of the N. CA coast. My favorite homeschooling book!
Nov 07, 2011 Audrey rated it really liked it
I read this for the homestead information, but was also pleasantly surprised to read about their homeschooling. It sounds just like the Thomas Jefferson Education which I am very intrigued by. This was a very good, and intriguing book.
Feb 11, 2008 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Loved it and the Colfax family.
erin ball
Mar 11, 2012 erin ball rated it really liked it
This family is so interesting. Their kids (2 bio, 2 adopted) were what we might call "unschooled", and then (3 of the 4) graduated Harvard.
Aug 10, 2008 Kami rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschool-ed
I loved this book because these people did something I wish I could do. Live in the mountains and survive and build a house. Plus they homeschool.
Jul 11, 2013 Mimi rated it liked it
The true story of a crazy family who decided to 'get back to the land' in the 1970's. That they survived the experience is a miracle!
Mar 14, 2014 Autumn rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this 6 stars. Loved it!
Betsy rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2008
John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2009
Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2010
Bitsy rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2013
Lisa rated it really liked it
Apr 25, 2013
Angela rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2015
Heather rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2012
Aimee rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2017
Naomi rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2015
Kirkrivera rated it liked it
May 13, 2017
Brad West
Brad West rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2013
Kim rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2012
Laura rated it it was amazing
Jul 19, 2013
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Madison Mega-Mara...: hard times in paradise 1 2 Mar 14, 2012 09:18AM  

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